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Campus & Community

The Year in Pictures

Our Favorite Campus Images Capture a Once-in-a-Lifetime Year

By Lauren Brown

overhead view of students in shells painted on McKeldin Mall

Photo by John T. Consoli

Shells painted onto McKeldin Mall helped maintain safe spacing, but didn’t prevent students arriving for the Fall semester from enjoying sunshine and company.

2020 was a year defined by a pandemic, a national reckoning with racial injustice and a contentious presidential election. It was also a year that showed the University of Maryland community’s resilience.

Terps adapted to the global upheaval, abruptly returning home as the nation shut down in March, then squaring their shoulders through the transition to virtual instruction. Faculty scrambled to reshape their courses, students cracked open textbooks in their childhood bedrooms, researchers dived into innovating PPE, tracking the spread of the coronavirus and investigating hundreds of other ways our lives were changing. 

On campus, staff and administrators prepared for a gradual reopening under the leadership of the university’s first new president in a decade, Darryll J. Pines. The 25-year veteran of UMD, including 11 as dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, stepped into his new role with urgency, energy and purpose, announcing an agenda focused on excellence and inclusion, particularly with regard to racial inequities. 

Terps who returned in the fall found a quieter campus, a new “M” on Campus Drive, and a swath of health and safety restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They donned masks, kept 6 feet apart and in some cases headed back to labs, classes and dining halls. 

They jumped at chances to play music and sports safely, proudly stood up for social justice, and creatively showed their Maryland grit and spirit. 

Maryland Today’s photo and design team selected the following images to summarize this trying yet memorable year at UMD. We hope to make the Year in Pictures an annual tradition.

Students play sousaphoneA line of masked sousaphone players pumps out the bassline during Mighty Sound of Maryland marching band practice on Chapel Field in October.
Photo by Emma J. Howells


President Pines teaching Grand Challenges courseJust over two months into his presidency, President Darryll J. Pines began teaching a new one-credit “Grand Challenges of Our Time” course to nearly 80 freshmen. The virtual class encouraged them to explore four timely issues: COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, climate change and voting access.
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle


Masked student raises hand in classA question rings out in a de-densified classroom with most seats off-limits in October. Classes transitioned online after Spring Break to prevent the coronavirus’ spread, but comprehensive safety measures allowed some to resume in person this semester.
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle


Lights in Discovery DistrictDiners enjoy a summer night under the lights at the new pocket park outside the Hall CP eatery in the Discovery District.
Photo by Emma J. Howells


Student moves into residence hallMove-in looked very different in Fall 2020, as the Department of Resident Life carefully scheduled student arrivals to sidestep the traditional crowded hallways, piles of possessions and chaotic family goodbyes. And in this pandemic-complicated year, at least, roomies were a thing of the past as all campus residents inhabited singles.
Photo by Emma J. Howells


Students protestStudents rally on campus to demand justice for Black Americans killed by the police and broader measures of racial justice in society during a June march organized by Black Terps Matter.
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle


Testudo statue in Terrapin Strong maskTestudo models one of the TerrapinSTRONG washable fabric masks distributed to all students living on campus, as well as many off-campus students and faculty and staff who stopped by to pick them up. In his first message to campus in July, UMD President Darryll G. Pines announced the TerrapinSTRONG onboarding program to "affirm our mission, culture, and values as a diverse, united, proud, respectful, inclusive, accountable and empowered community of people from every background that works to impact positively our globally-connected society."
Photo by John T. Consoli


COVID testing on campusThe University Health Center sprinted into action to enact a sweeping COVID-19 testing regimen for anyone living on or working at the UMD campus this fall. Health Center staff administered tens of thousands of tests, first in the concourse at Maryland Stadium and then at the Stamp Student Union as temperatures fell.
By John T. Consoli


Cardboard cutouts fill Maryland StadiumAlthough virus safety concerns prevented fans from attending the Homecoming game against the Golden Gophers, they could reserve Terrapin cutouts—avatars of themselves, family or friends to virtually fill the stands and silently urge the Terps on to eventual victory.
By Stephanie S. Cordle


UMD football jerseys that say "Love" and "Empathy"Terps wore their convictions about racial justice on their football uniforms this year—including at the Oct. 30 Homecoming game, where the team defeated Minnesota 45-44 in overtime. “Equality,” “Unity,” “Respect,” “Justice,” “Empathy” and other terms replaced names on jerseys, while helmet stickers expressed solidarity. It was part of Maryland Athletics’ commitment to lifting the voices of student-athletes, 20 sports teams and staff to influence positive change within its program and communities. 
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle


Pines with a "VOTE" stickerUniversity of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines volunteers during early voting at the Xfinity Center in late October. The arena was a site for early and Election Day voting in Prince George’s County, while a student-led initiative, VoTERP, worked to turn out the campus vote.
Photo by John T. Consoli


Grad throwing capGraduating Terps experienced a whole new kind of commencement in May, with ceremonies held entirely online. But with families or friends in tow, they couldn’t resist the call of traditional campus backdrops—ODK Fountain, the M Circle, their favorite academic buildings—for photos to commemorate their college careers.
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.